The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently released a new analysis of 2021 fatal crash data for what is known as distraction-affected crashes, which, according to NHTSA, is “any crash where a driver was identified as distracted at the time of the crash.”  Such crashes increased by 12% from 3,154 in 2020 to 3,522 in 2021, and accounted for 8.2% of all reported motor vehicle deaths. It is believed that despite the large numbers, distraction as a cause of an auto accident is likely underreported because behavior is often hard to detect during crash investigations and then ends up not being reflected in police reports.

Because of how much harm distracted driving can cause, NHTSA kicked off its annual U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign to increase awareness of the dangers of driving while distracted. The figures referenced above emphasize the very real risk of driving while distracted, as well as other types of risky driving. In light of the new data and the seriousness of the problem, Sophie Shulman, NHTSA’s Deputy Administrator, stated the following: “We need to use all the tools we have to reduce distracted driving:  state laws, education and outreach, and disabling of phones while driving can all work to save lives.”  

NHTSA further reported that another NHTSA study disclosed that distracted driving was involved in 29% of all crashes in 2019, resulting in over 10,000 fatalities, 1.3 million nonfatal injuries, and over $98 billion in economic costs. Updated data released by NHTSA in 2022, shows that traffic crashes increased 10.5% from 2020 to 2021. This is very concerning given the increase in fatalities during that same time period. Not unexpectedly, NHTSA’s campaign to address distracted driving focuses on 18 to 34-year-old drivers since, according to NHTSA, they are more likely to die in distraction-affected crashes than any other age group.  

The personal injury and car accident lawyers at Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C., fully support the efforts of NHTSA with regard to its campaign to reduce distracted driving. Information about the magnitude of distraction-affected driving is being brought to the attention of the communities we serve, including Berks, Schuylkill, Lancaster, Lebanon, and Montgomery Counties as a public service. The attorneys at the firm are concerned for the safety of the motoring public in Reading, PA, and Pottsville, PA, and throughout Pennsylvania. We serve car, motorcycle, and tractor-trailer accident victims and their families in claims and cases involving serious injury and death caused by the negligence of others. The lawyers at the firm also handle work comp, medical malpractice, and nursing home neglect cases.

From the desk of Adam K. Levin, Esquire 

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